Dance Mom: South Florida
I’ve been a lot of “moms” over the years. I’ve been a homeschooling mom, a martial arts mom, a music mom, a dance mom, a therapy mom, a special needs mom, the list goes on and on and on. I can’t say I like and one version of mom more than any other.
I’ve tried hard not to be a sports mom though. Not because I want to deny my kids anything. Not because I am super anti sports. Note, I did mention martial arts mom and dance mom up there. But I am happy I never turned into a soccer mom or a baseball mom. Not because I have anything against those sports either, other than they are outside. And a huge commitment. And outside.
Have I mentioned I live in South Florida? It’s hot here. And humid. It’s not a dry heat. It’s a miserable, sweaty, sticky, wet mess. We have gone to the water park and I have found myself soaking wet walking from the car to the entrance, and not because of water sprayers.
So I was thrilled when my kids picked mostly indoor sports. Like dance.
Miss Thing has been dancing for six years now. It started innocently enough. One baby class. She was 4. It was a tap/ballet combo class. It involved a show with a teddy bear. It was adorable. I had no idea what I was getting into.
She was invited to try out for company the next year. One class led to three. She was hooked. I was spending three hours a week at the studio. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but a lot in relation to other things. The next year it jumped to five classes. Last year she was up to seven. Do you see a pattern?
This means we have a lot of costumes. I’ve been saving them in the closet (sort of like that movie 27 Dresses but with costumes instead of bridesmaid dresses) but I don’t know why. I’ve been hoarding costumes that are adorable, cost a small fortune, and don’t fit anyone anymore. Some of the graduating girls at our studio had them all as well, and took a lovely photograph with all of their costumes spread out around them. So maybe, somewhere deep in the back of my mind, I had that in mind for an amazing “I’ve been dancing my entire life” photo. I think she’s already up to 25 or so costumes though. In six years. I may have to move them out of the closet and into bins in storage lest I have a walk-in closet full of tiny costumes. Oops, too late.
At the end of every season, we get home from recital and let the suitcase sit a day (or two – or five). Then we open it up, sort out the shoes and the tights and the arms pieces and head pieces and lovingly put the costumes back in the right garment bags and tuck that years program book into at least one of the bags and toss them into the back of the closet. Each costume loved intensely for a day and then relegated to the back of the closet. Hello Marla. Back again I see. Maybe you are one of my alter-egos. Some memories are worth holding onto for just the right moment to appear.
Shoes are a different story. Sort of. I save ballet shoes. Some of her ballet shoes are so worn they’ve started to get holes. Which is impressive to me considering she’s growing and goes through a couple of pairs every year. Every other shoe I try to pass one. Shoes are expensive. Someone out there doesn’t have a weird shoe thing (unlike me, I have a weird shoe thing) and will wear a used shoe. Some of these shoes look brand new because she outgrew them pretty quickly.
Speaking of expensive… dance is crazy expensive. Not for one class. Nope, one class is pretty cheap. Like I said, they want to get you in there and get you hooked. Even two classes isn’t too bad. Most studios offer a multi-class discount. Our studio offers “unlimited”. Unlimited is exactly what it sounds like. You can take as many classes as you can fit into your schedule and are at your level for the super low price of $375/mo. Which is pretty low, considering 5.5 hours of class time is about that much, so once you take 6 classes or more, it’s a bargain. Leave me alone while I’m justifying.
Recitals are costly. Recitals are costly because costumes are costly, and venue rental is costly, and DVD production is costly. Our recital is held in a professional theater. It’s gorgeous. It sure isn’t your high school auditorium production of Pippin. But the cost of renting that is rolled up into the recital fee. Again, one or two classes isn’t unreasonable. Six? Ten? Some of our girls are in 15 or 20. I’m floored. I spent over a thousand dollars in recital fees last year. I’m trying to figure out how not to break my little girls heart and still not spend that kind of money on recitals. I think the two are completely incompatible. I’ve discovered I’m not above begging my (not so) little (anymore) brother and sister to cover a recital fee (or three).
I’m not even touching on competitive dance. She did it. She loved it. She has opted not to do it for the last three years. Competitive dancing will run you around 1500$ a season, if you don’t add lots of dances, or a solo/duet/trio to the mix. Competitive dancing is amazing. It’s an amazing experience, it creates amazing friendships, and is really a lot of fun for the dancers. Shh, it’s a secret, but it’s a lot of fun for the parents too, especially at weeklong events like Nationals where you can hang out at the hotel pool and sip on cocktails (if that’s your thing).
I work at my daughters studio. She’s already signed up for six classes this year, with a few on the “maybe” list. She’s pretty much maxed out on her available classes short of signing up for Company (which she’s declined again this year). Her maybe list includes a couple of technique classes and volunteering to demonstrate in some of the baby classes. We’ll see what happens. School starts today, which means her dance season is kicked off today as well. And we’re off!